Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Evergreen Monty King!

So we've totally ripped off a video idea from the guys at They've created a fictional character named Larry Linguist that is basically "the guy that starts services." We contacted them about possibly making some personalized videos for Crossbridge, but we heard no response. So...we took matters into our own hands and created Hugh Durlam...the guy that starts Crossbridge Services. Here is our second installment.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Worship for Men

So my pastor Chuck Land sent me this link while I was on vacation. It really threw me for a loop and had me thinking all weekend about worship as it relates to the men in our church. The article was from a website called Church for Men and you can read it by clicking HERE. This will be the premise for the rest of my post today.

I agree with about 95% of David Murrow's article on worship leading in a way that draws the men of the church into the experience. I believe flamboyance and feminine guys leading worship have been a major turn-off to men as this new wave of "contemporary/progressive" worship movement has taken off. I think if we wanted to see Elton John we'd go to his concert and see the real thing...he's the best at flamboyance and musical excellence. Don't really find a place for it in worship leading though.

However, couple things I disagree with Mr. Murrow on...

  • If you’re looking to hire a worship pastor, consider a non-musician. Hire a person with a gift for creative communication. Let him gather musicians. I know this sounds crazy, but I believe that the definition of worship will be greatly expanded in the coming century as the church recovers more of what it means to give glory to the King.

I say you have to be very careful about this one. If you take culture into consideration, the music scene is one of the most scrutinized areas...and alongside movies and sports events, it can hold it's own when it comes to crowd appeal. And when an artist goes live now...everyone wants to see if he or she is as good as they sound on the CD (very few are...couple exceptions - Dave Matthews, Amos Lee, Norah Jones, the Corrs, and India Arie to name some.) When everything we do in church now is put up against the standard of what people hear on the radio or see in concert...the bar is pretty high. At least in suburbia where I minister, many people will first determine whether or not they listen to the message based on the package it's delivered in. Does that mean we let culture define us? No, we take culture into consideration...culture doesn't put out shoddy music. Putting a non-musician in leadership over worship in our culture could lead to a completely irrelevant worship ministry. It might work in some parts of the country, but I don't think you can use it as a general rule of thumb when hiring a worship pastor. I would modify Murrow's statement to say that you should hire a well rounded musician that can gather quality musicians and still bring a solid biblical approach to worship. This well rounded musician could actually surround him/herself with more "left-brained" guys to help bring some of these other elements out that Murrow discusses.

  • And finally, the big one: Keep songs short and non-repetitive. I know this goes against everything they say at Hillsong and the Passion Movement, but the men will love you for it.

This is totally a subjective merit. All it says is "the men will love you for it." I'm not an advocate for beating a song to death until people respond the way you want them to either. However, man or woman, repetition allows someone to own a song. I do prefer to repeat a song over a couple weeks to allow people to get it as opposed to doing it 16 times in one service. Usually by the third week, the people know it and can "own the lyrics" as they sing them. There may be a fundamental difference between mine and Murrow's worship philosophy that causes a break down here. I'm ok with just can't drop a line like that with nothing to back it up. Repetition is necessary for people to learn songs...and it seems that in Revelation there is quite a bit of repetition...something about "Holy, Holy, Holy..."

Friday, November 10, 2006

Sweet Vacation and Blue Christmas!

Well, vacation time is here! I'm not one of those guys that takes his 2 weeks vacation all together. I like to split it up into two "one week" vacations. The longer I am in full time ministry, the more I realize that I can run hard for about 5-6 months, then I need a break. So I typically do a vacation in July around my wife's birthday and another in November around our anniversary. I think if I ever took both weeks together, I'd probably start working midway through vacation. I just start getting the itch to get back to it after a week of so. Anyhow, I'm looking forward to spending the week investing in my family, getting some extra sleep, and hopefully seeking after God! I'm so prone to take a vacation from God when I go on a work vacation...I need much more discipline in that area!

I'm really excited about the Christmas season this year at Crossbridge. In December, we are starting a series called Blue Christmas. Our pastor Chuck Land will be looking at how anxiety, depression, and anger typically show up during this time of year. But more than that, we'll be looking at what the Scriptures say about dealing with those emotions. Bringing it back to the worship will be interesting to see how God works through worship this season. My prayer is that we will be pointing our people and those visiting to the God of hope that is Jesus Christ! In a season where depression and suicide rates are at a peak, my desire is that we paint the biggest picture of our God that we can! I don't think that can be done by singing Christmas Carols...White Christmas just doesn't do the trick. I'll save that for my other blog on how I struggle to put Christmas songs in the service during Christmas time. (I'm not the Grinch...I just have some strong convictions about worship and Christmas songs...we'll discuss it later!)

So, I hope to do some blogging over my vacation...but if I don't, I'll talk to all three of you that read this blog when I return!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Competition…is there a place for it on my team?

Oh yes…competition. I love the topic and I love to see people squirm when we talk about it in the context of ministry. So squirm away friends, we’re going to dance inside the fire a little bit here.

My current worship team has been nearly 2 deep on every instrument/vox for the past 2 years. Same as with our sound and media teams. Since we have moved to this system, it has been interesting to watch the dynamics that have played out among our very artsy (sometimes emotional) worship team constituents. As with any team, you have some very strong players and some that are still developing…both are necessary and each plays a significant role on our team. Naturally, some of these “differences” will begin to be noticeable…mainly from the perspective that I will use my strongest players to the tip top of their capabilities. I won’t back down from that…it’s the only way our ministry is going to grow. Not to mention, when you lead a volunteer based music program, you start realizing that quality musicians attract other quality musicians. A great musician will play for free if they find it to be an enjoyable and excellent atmosphere. I am also convinced that no one is going to be on my team forever, so I have to keep a system in place that feeds itself…constantly raising up new people.

Now then…since there are times when some musicians serve functions on our team that others don’t, that usually leads to a little competition. No one likes to call it that, but it’s blaringly obvious to me. What I am noticing is that our team is better for the competition. The strong players get stronger and the weaker ones rise up as well. Obviously, each team member has to constantly keep their motives in check, but I really believe everyone on the team comes to Sunday morning with a heart to see people encounter God. They know that that is the end goal…however, when it comes to bettering themselves as musicians, there is a mixed bag of motives that is inevitable.

I don’t think there is any scriptural reference on competition…though I know there’s plenty on coveting. My hope is that our team members will avoid coveting, but hopefully be spurred on by the dedication shown by other team members. Coveting someone’s gifting will only lead to dark places, but recognizing that they have spent time crafting their gift can encourage us to craft our gifting. There is work involved in that…even incredibly gifted people have to work to better themselves.

In the end, hopefully each person is becoming more skillful at their role…that will in turn take the level of the organization up a notch…and hopefully leading to great places of worship on a regular basis!

I think I could go on for a part 2 of this discussion, but we’ll stop there for now…

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A Fresh Approach to Old Songs

One of the hardest parts about leading worship is how to keep things fresh even though we rotate some of the same songs a hundred times! A goal for worship leaders is to allow our people to be moved by songs that moved us long ago. Below is an exerpt from Kathryn Scott's (Writer of Hungry) blog. I think she has some great thoughts here that we should keep in mind as we work with our teams. Enjoy

LEADING WORSHIP: Putting an Arrangement Together

It's been a while since I wrote about leading worship - so I thought this might be helpful.

I think that arranging a song is one of the most exciting things about leading worship (apart from actually getting to see people express their hearts to God!) The reason is, that you can take a song that people have heard a hundred times before, and breath new life into it, just by the way you play it. It's also one of the most daunting things too - because where do you begin?

Here are some thoughts that might help you get started on the road of creativity again....

When I choose a song, I play it over a few times by myself. I'm trying to find hooky rifs that I can play on the piano that might freshen it up a little, and I'm looking for a 'feel' or 'vibe' that might suit it. Then I take it to the band and say very roughly what I'm looking for - sometimes, I just don't know until we start to play it together.

As a band, we play it through a couple of times, and each time through, I'll be telling the guys individually what I'm liking (maybe the bass player has hit on a great line, or I love what the drummer is doing in a certain place), and we build from there. Once we've got the general idea, we start thinking about 'shape' - in other words, the layout of the song as we are going to play it - where we are putting the verses, where we'll sing choruses, and how many etc... and we write down a rough guide, or 'road map' down the side of the chord sheet so that we don't forget. It also means that we can start thinking through 'light and shade', the dynamics of how we are going to play, and then write it in on our road map too... (it's amazing how many things you forget unless you write them down :)

Some things to watch out for are, be careful not to overplay - it can sound pretty messy if everyone plays everything from the beginning to the end of a song. Maybe you could come in at different parts of the song (the bass coming in on the pre chorus for example, with the hi-hat during the chorus, and then full drums in verse 2) - or, if it's a really big song, everyone coming in at the beginning, and then cutting right back for the first verse. There are so many ways to do things. My advice is to listen to songs you really love, and try and think about how they have been recorded - where do instruments play, how do they play, when do they drop out... The other thing - especially in leading worship - is to remember that the arrangement must serve the song - if it's too creative, the congregation might just miss the reason why you've put all the work in - they might get totally distracted by the band, and forget that it's all about reconnection with God.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Worship Fueled by Obedience

Have you ever felt like your daily worship is completely void of any transcendent connection to God? You walk day in and day out without any sort of divine revelation or spiritual nudge concerning small or large matters. Often times I find that these days leave me clouded and poised to make both common and critical decisions without any thought to what might be pleasing to God.

That leads me to the topic of discussion today…obedience. What role if any, does our obedience play in our acts of worship to God? If one merely sees worship as an emotional experience that happens when the music and lighting are just right on a Sunday morning, then our lack of Godward obedience could possibly never impede our worship. However, if we look at worship through the Romans 12 lens, then we would see that every act of obedience is in turn an act of worship to God. In addition, if we see our corporate worship gatherings as a place to outwardly express our worship to God from the overflow of an obedient life of worship, then how deep and how rich will that worship experience be!

Sometimes I’m able to use my Sunday morning worship experience as a sort of “obedience barometer” for my life. It is often very apparent to me when my lack of obedience is hindering my worship to God. There is a disconnect…short circuit…a real spiritual heaviness. It is almost as if I am not released to worship. Why? Because I am bound up by thoughts and problems that disturb my posture of worship. It says in Ecclesiastes 7:29, “God made man simple; man’s complex problems are of his own devising.” When there is a definitive dark cloud over my worship to God, most likely there is an obedience issue on my part that is of my “own devising.”

So where do we go from here? Search it out…come to grips with reality. I find that most often, I am well aware of where the disobedience lies. I just prefer to live in denial. Sometimes there is fear when I think about obeying...fear of the unknown or fear of losing control. Andy Stanley says this about our fear…

“You’re afraid. So what? Everybody’s afraid. Fear is the common ground of humanity. The question you must wrestle to the ground is, “Will I allow my fear to bind me to mediocrity?”

I recently saw an incredible picture of a person whose worship was fueled by obedience. Because I knew this person’s story, watching her worship on Sunday morning blew me away. Walking through the murky waters that lead to obedience, she finally relinquished control and obeyed what God was calling her to. That very weekend in our morning services, I saw her stand; arms open wide in complete worship to God. She was the only one standing…uncaring of her surroundings and unbridled in her worship. Why…because she was free! She stepped out and obeyed…and from the overflow of an obedient lifestyle came a worship experience like none other!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A Proper Response

The staff at my church is currently going through a book entitled “The Bible in 90 Days.” A bit daunting I might say! I had to catch my breath when Chuck laid it on the table in front of me and said, “We’ll be doing this over the next few months.” At the stage of life I’m in right now (2 year old girl and 2 month old girl), it was a bit overwhelming. Needless to say…I have since invented the “Bible in 180ish days” reading plan. And I’m right on track…

So, I’m plowing through Genesis and come across a rather insignificant character in the story. So insignificant was he that scripture doesn’t even tell his name. However, his role was huge…He was the senior servant under Abraham. After Sarah had passed away, Abraham was trying to find a wife for his son Isaac. He sent this “senior servant” with specific orders about finding a wife for his son.

Upon arriving to his destination, the servant immediately began to pray. “God, I need you to be really clear about this one. This is something I don’t want to mess up” …he then begins to outline a very detailed series of events that this girl would do/say in order that he would know that she’s the one God is providing. The scriptures say in Genesis 24 that he had barely finished getting the words out of his mouth and there the girl was. Her name was Rebekah and she fulfilled all the “conditions” this servant had asked God for.

Now, here’s where the story really began to grab me…I noticed that twice in the story, God came through for this servant in a big way. First, He immediately showed Rebekah to the servant as soon as he finished praying. Then he put it in the hearts of her and her parents to let her go with him to be with Isaac. When both of these events were finished, there is a line in the passage that I love. It says “At this, the man bowed down in worship before God.”

It was then that I began to feel this overwhelming sense that I have been missing God in worship. So many times I see God move in my midst and I refuse to respond. This “senior servant” couldn’t help but respond…so much so that he bowed and worshiped. It’s kind of hard for me to put my arms around that thought that he would just drop to his knees right there before Rebekah’s parents because they said yes. But that was his response, and outward expression of an inward reality.

So why is it that we are so prone to pitiful responses to the work of God? Have we become so dull and calloused that when he does something in our midst we’re hardly moved? Is it that we live life with a sense of entitlement? As if He owes us something? “Well it’s about time God…don’t understand what took you so long.” I want deeply to be in a place where I see God moving all around me. Not only Him moving, but my heart moving in response to Him. My physical posture should be affected by an inward reality that my life is in the hands of Almighty God. My family should see a dad and a husband that notices the work of God and then responds appropriately. My church should have confidence that Sunday morning worship times are a response to a magnificent God and not just a mere musical tip of the hat.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Turn it all off...

I find myself in this place on a regular basis…how do I train myself to be in a place to “hear” God? I want to be the kind of man that knows the sound of His voice. What I have been learning lately is that the more I am familiar with His voice in times of silence and solitude, the more I am able to recognize his voice when things in the world are screaming all around me. When both of my girls that are in diapers are crying…I can still hear his voice. When I’m in the midst of an argument with my wife and I’m fighting to get my way…I can hear His voice reminding me that our relationship is an illustration and that I am to love her as Christ loves the church. On the church worship side of things…the more I can hear Him speak in the midst of a worship set, telling me “say this…sing this…encourage them to worship me…don’t say anything…let them sit still for a second and soak Me in…

As I read one of Mark Driscoll’s articles on addictions to noise , I was reminded of just how important it is to find time to be in silence. Being a worship pastor, I am always listening to music…from secular to Christian and Broadway to Jazz…I love it all. Ok…I’m really not a fan of rap, but I do like the Fresh Prince of Bellaire. (Should have kept that one to myself!)

I am so prone to turn music on for the sake of “learning” what could be incorporated into the Sunday morning experience. But over the past few months, I have found my soul is thirsty for the chance to turn it all off. When I get in the car…it’s my little escape from all the noise and my chance to tune into God.

What more could we as Pastors have to offer our people than an intimate relationship with Christ? My pastor Chuck says he likes to come each Sunday with “fresh bread.” If I can’t hear God, I’ll have no fresh bread to offer our people…it will be stale worship that is based on past experiences watered down with time. But when I shut it all off…His voice becomes clearer and clearer. However, it is an act of the will for me to be obedient and put myself in environments where I can be quiet before the Lord. It won’t just happen.

Monday, March 06, 2006

The Barber Shop Church

Saturday I went to the barber shop for my monthly trim…since my hair is so short, it doesn’t take long for me to start looking a little shaggy…my wife is always quick to point out my need to visit the barber.

I have found a little treasure here in Sugar Land/Richmond…Oscar’s Barber Shop. If you’re a man, you may be able to relate to me here. If you’re a man that is “folically challenged” or one that shaves your head not just because it’s in style…I hope you hear me when I say...I’m glad I still get to go to the barber. Now, back to my point…the disappearance of real barber shops is becoming quite alarming. No longer can a man just drop a $10 bill and walk out with a positive haircut experience. Instead, we’re flooded with all the mainstream wannabe barber shops like TGF and Sports Clips. If we don’t choose these…we’re left with the not so masculine privately owned “salons.” This is very disheartening for a guy who grew up going to the classic barber shop on a regular basis. After years of searching…I have found Oscar’s on Hwy 90 at 99. Incredible…you walk in and there’s lots of wood…already feeling very masculine. Wooden frame mirrors…big oak counters like you would see at a Bass Pro Shop or something like that. And Nolan Ryan memorabilia everywhere....what guy doesn’t like Nolan Ryan? Remember that time he got in a fight when Robin Ventura charged the mound. Nolan landed six “seasoned” punches on that poser. What a beautiful day in baseball history!

Anyway, there’s lots of dudes here too…not dudes that make you feel uncomfortable when they run their hands through your hair…but dudes that might kick your butt if you looked at them wrong. Then there’s Oscar…sort of the Granddad of all barbers. He’s not in the first chair when you walk in…but instead the very last one. The first one would insinuate that easy access to him is permissible. Oh no…if you want your hair cut by Oscar, you either make an appointment, wait until Oscar is ready, or get the luck of the draw while waiting in line. Now let me tell you…a haircut by any of these guys is a quality experience in grooming…they go the distance. You can guarantee that they’ll bust out the warm shaving cream and straight razor at the end to really give that clean cut. Then out comes the chrome plated hand massager, cheap aftershave, and good ole’ white barber shop powder…don’t even know what that stuff is, but it has a smell all its own. This whole experience usually takes about 45 minutes…

A haircut with Oscar on the other hand…well, let’s just say on Saturday, some guy was getting his hair cut with Oscar…two men got their haircut before Oscar was ever finished with this guy. So I watched the master at work…he was definitely not in a hurry. And the client had plenty of hair to cut…he had a full head of hair and a big audacious gotee. So I look over and there’s Oscar trimming up his gotee with great precision. I’m thinking, well this is almost over…then I look and the guy is fully reclined in his chair and Oscar is giving him a full shave with a straight razor and warm shaving cream. After that, a hot towel over his face for 5 minutes…45 minutest later the guy is still there…this time Oscar looks down and notices chest hair coming out the collar of his shirt. “Would you like that trimmed?” he asked… “Of course” …the guy doesn’t want to look like a wolf…needless to say; I think Oscar got a pretty huge tip after this haircut.

How does this all parallel with the church…God set up an order for the church to operate under, much like the barber shop. If the church was a one man show…the lead pastor would be tending to every person that walks through the door. There’s no possible way he could do that…so he hires a couple guys to help out...they end up tending to as many as they can…but there’s no way they could handle every person in the church. So they begin to raise up other leaders as well…and this process continues to replicate.

When it comes to the Pastoral Care of the church…there are certain people that require the attention of the lead pastor…much like the very hairy guy at the barber shop required the craft of a skilled barber. But obviously, everyone can’t meet, have lunch with, or counsel with the lead pastor. If he were to meet with everyone…he couldn’t possibly lead the church effectively. Likewise, this trickles down to his other staff members…they too can only handle so many personal appointments. Eventually we have to be raising up other leaders to care for the body. Thus, we have the priesthood of the believer. Pastoral care of the church is put in the hands of many lay people that the church leadership has empowered. This frees the pastors/elders to operate in their biblical capacities while the body operates as it is supposed to. Are the lay people as equipped to handle major pastoral issues…sometimes…but at other times it does need to be referred to leadership. It’s so common in the local church for us to think that the lead pastors need to be our best friend and always there when we need to talk. The reality is that that is impossible. Just like I can’t walk into Oscar’s and demand that I be next in line for a hair cut with the head hair cutter.

This by all means is not an exhaustive commentary on the matter above, but just a quick glimpse…we could definitely go down some major trails of discussion here.

Have I ever had my haircut by Oscar…yes, I got lucky my second time to visit his shop. He was the only one working. We had a good talk about 25 years of haircutting, the Astros and lawn cutting. What a great way to spend an hour of my life!

Stepping back to 1720

Today I am sitting in the chapel of Mission San Jose in San Antonio Tx. A quiet little chapel in a mission that was built in 1720. I've sung in this particular chapel twice when I was in high school…brings back some memories. Everything in this building except the pew I’m sitting on is made of rock, slate, or some other petrified element. As old as everything in here looks…like the rusty chandelier that is above my head, I am confident that God is here with me now. Why am I reminded that He’s here now? There are pieces of antiquity all around, representing the faith of those who have come before me…then I look up at the “stage” area of this chapel, and there, bolted to the wall, is a column of Bose speakers! (as if they’re needed here, I cleared my throat and the sound went on for about 15 seconds) Slightly out of place these speakers…but just a reminder that God shows himself to every generation…He awaits our response to His revealed glory. People are filing past me as I type…some with zero reverence for such a cool place…and others you would think were waiting for the pope himself. Regardless, it serves as a great place for me to meet with God.

I just finished a long lunch with a friend and fellow worship pastor here in San Antonio. I like spending time with him because he has walked this road of being a worship pastor for much longer than I have. He’s one of those guys you’d like to have around at any given leadership crisis, put a quarter in the slot and wait for his answer. At the same time, doing something like that would totally repulse him, so he probably wouldn’t let that relationship exist. Regardless…I find that our occasional meetings are incredibly insightful and fruitful for me.

Today we talked about some of the ins and outs of worship ministry. Seems like he brings Zeph. 3 up quite a bit…probably be a good passage for me to become familiar with. As I look at it…heck if you look at the whole book…God is up to something. He’s putting to ruin those who despise him and leaving behind a remnant of faithful servants. Towards the end of Ch. 3 in the Message, he says this…

“In the end, I’ll turn things around for the people. I’ll give them a language undistorted, unpolluted, words to address God in worship and, united, to serve me “shoulder to shoulder” (NIV substitution). They’ll come from beyond the Ethiopian rivers, they’ll come praying – all my scattered, exiled people will come home with offerings for worship. You’ll no longer have to be ashamed of all those acts of rebellion. I’ll have gotten rid of your arrogant leaders. No more pious strutting on my holy hill! I’ll leave a core of people among you who are poor in spirit – what’s left of Israel that’s really Israel. They’ll make their home in God. This core holy people will not do wrong. They won’t lie, won’t use words to flatter or seduce. Content with who they are and where they are, unanxious, they’ll live at peace.”

Sometimes I think we get caught up thinking God doesn’t work this way anymore…but why wouldn’t He. He still cares about His fame and His renown. As ministries grow and His kingdom goes forward, He will continue to rid those who are going to distract from His vision. What’s left will be a core of people that are unswervingly devoted to the call of God, people who will lay their lives on the line for the gospel of Christ. Going to a worship team level…these are people who don’t get upset because you ask them to change the way they do/play/sing something. They don’t glare because you don’t put them up in the mix every week. They aren’t the ones that try to sing or play every time we stop rehearsing so you can “overhear” how good they sound and want to use them for a specific part. They aren’t the ones that come to rehearsal unprepared and looking for ways to hide the fact that they haven’t even listened to the music. Instead, what will be left are those who could care less about their own name or their own agenda, but rather, take on the “Kingdom” agenda. When we look at ministry with a Kingdom perspective; our personal preferences, perceptions, and expectations all fall to the ground. We take up the mighty vision of the Lion of Judah! He is incredibly strong and has utmost vigor for His own fame…ours is sure to take a back seat!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Wake up, Wake up...

This past Sunday was one of those days where you look out in the crowd and just want to scream... "Wake up! We're here to worship the Living God Jesus Christ!" It didn't help that it was dark, grey and cold outside (I actually dig that kind of weather, but I think most people get lethargic). To me, it is so frustrating when you sit down with God to receive direction for Sunday mornings, only to find that people are less than enthused to go there with you.

Do I not have those mornings myself...of course I do. But how is it that you get 200 adults in a room together and 90% of them feel that same way on the same day? Then I look at the way we planned the morning and wonder...did we miss God here? OR...did our people miss God? Were we so complacent to whet our appetite for Him that we grew content to let moment by moment pass without pursuing Him? Why are we so prone to do that? Why do I find myself in other worship environments staring at the musicians saying "Play for me what you got!" Instead, my heart should be saying "God, show us what You’ve got! We want to see You in all Your splendor and glory...knowing that we'll be forever changed by Your greatness!"

So back to this past Sunday...from a purely musical perspective. Did we as a team inhibit our people from worshiping? I can't say for was a strong morning on both the musical and sound sides. There were some minor errors, but nothing that I would characterize as distracting. We did dive into two hymns that morning...sometimes that causes people to be a bit less involved. But they were great versions of the songs, so shouldn't have hurt it too much.

Could it be that people are actually worshiping and being affected by the presence of God without any outward display of affection for Him? Often times when I have services like we had on Sunday, I will get numerous comments about how people "really connected with God." To that I want to counter... "what service were you in?" Then I realize, I have to trust the sovereignty of our God...he is moving on people's hearts in ways that I can't understand. Especially here in suburbia where people seem to be highly conscious of how they are perceived...I find people are less likely to express demonstratively what's going on their hearts.

So was Sunday a success or a failure...well, I imagine God was worshiped and people were moved to think about their lives in light of His Kingdom. In that regards, it was a success. However, I am also unsatisfied with where we are...I want our people to know the One we cannot fathom...and then respond appropriately. Louie Giglio says "we have tinny tiny worship because we have a tinny tiny God." I pray that wouldn't be true of us. I want to worship a huge God, One beyond comprehension.

So here we go again...another week. Another chance for us to encounter Him. I will set my face like flint, and I know that I will not be put to shame.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Where's My Dependence?

Where's my Dependence? I am in a state of wonder today...I look at the worship team God has blessed me with. It's amazing...yet, I am potentially losing 3 key players on my team, all around the same time. God has brought other people our way, but when I think about these people leaving, my stomach begins to turn.

So I wonder, why do I feel sick when I think about these changes? Are their departures such that my team will be crippled? Yes and no. The team will take a blow on the musical side, but our resolve to lead people to genuine encounters with Christ will be intact. In that, where is my dependence? Do I place my dependence on great musicians, or do I put my complete trust in the Creator of this universe. Once again, I revisit a sore spot in my I more dependent on my musicians to provide an experience with God or am I depending on God to show up and do what only He can?

I believe God will continue to keep refining me in this area. Everytime I lose a key player on my worship team, my soul cringes. My tendency is to think, how will we continue to do what we do without them? I believe my question needs to be, what is God doing? How will God choose to move through my new set of external circumstances. When we meet for corporate worship on Sundays, He still desires the worship of His people. If worship is more than just music, which I believe it is, then it should remain unhindered despite the changes. In fact, I wonder if true Biblical worship will grow? Regardless of how slick the presentation on Sunday, is God moving in such a way that people are responding with acts of worship that far supercede hands raised in the air? Are they living their lives sacrificially as acts of worship? Am I doing that? Do I love my wife sacrificially? Do I lay down my all for my family? Do I honor God with my money...where's my treasure...there's my heart! If people were living their lives according to Romans 12 because they've had an indescribable experience with Jesus Christ, Sundays would just be an overflow a life they already lead. There would be no "modeling from the stage" necessary; we would just all come blown away with who God is. We'd walk in the door praising God...shouting His name...telling of His greatness.

So that brings me back to my first question...where's my dependence? Am I once again depending on the strengths of man that are certain to fail? Am I leaning into the divine strength that comes from a mighty God that is out to make much of His name? His river runs strong...sometimes I think I am just content to stand ankle deep and say, "oh the water feels nice." He calls us to jump in head first, get lost in the current, take a drink...heck get drunk on who He is! When will we worship with the abandonment that God desires? Why are we content to sit on the banks where the water is calm and shallow? God is deep...yet we worship like He's the little stream of water that runs by the curb of my house when we have a light shower.

I want to place my dependence in the One whose current is unstoppable force...not bound by human effort, but far exceeding our best offerings.